Life’s Little Daily Treasures

January17/ 2000

… Ye Olde North State stands on the precipice of “the lottery abyss”.  Led by low-down, no-account flim-flamming politico Jim Black, The NC General Assembly is readying to enact “the tax on fools” aka “a state-wide lottery”.  Soon Aunt Bea, Barney, Gomer and Floyd can play the “what if I won” game with visions of fancy cars, big old houses, and lots of bling bling dancing in their heads.   I maintain that a daily euphoric state of “then I would be happy” is already attainable at much better odds with far less administrative overhead.  

   I am not a “lottery debator” for the same reason I don’t debate “abortion”, “euthanasia”, “capital punishment”, and “who makes the best barbecue”.  Such discussions never end harmoniously so why bother?  I simply hand my ideological adversary a baseball bat and while he/she is turning the trademark up I poleax’em .  My way saves lots of time and angst.

   Well into my 2nd half century, I have never bought a “lottery ticket” nor felt a pang to do so.  I saw a guy buy one once in a c-store in Framingham Mass. That’s as close as I’ve been.  Not a “religious” thing but more like why I don’t watch MTV … just no interest.

    I read where all my neighbors supposedly pilgrimage to Emporia VA and Dillon SC to give those states $$$ that will now be used to buy paste, scissors, and history books to teach Tar Heel children that Caucasian Hetero-sexual Christian Males are the root cause of most every problem they will encounter in life.  Knowing how politicians of every denomination work, there seems an easier way.

   Why not grant school principals the right to go into every trailer park in their district and simply collect $50 from each inhabitant thereof.  That cash money is then put in a box in the teacher’s lounge and whenever Miss Landers needs crayons or extra copies of Weekly Reader she grabs a handful of bucks and heads over to Wal-Mart to restock her cabinet.  

   All the “research” says it’s “trailer park people” that buy the lottery tickets so this limits their losses to $50/year and since “low down, no-account, flim-flamming Jim Black” is proclaiming how “its for education” my plan puts the money directly into those schools saving one and all the “pass-thru” of these $$$ to the aforementioned flim-flamming Jim Black who has notoriously sticky fingers and intends to hijack as many of those $$$ as he can get away with.

   So I’ve solved the Lottery issue … now let’s find a way to make Aunt Bea, Gomer, and Floyd “happier” every day in endless little ways.  The answer does not lie in the “NBA way” via “fancy rides, fancy cribs, and lots of bling bling”.  Yea verily … Happiness lies in towels, nail clippers, coffee mugs and underwear.   Stick with me here, I promise your life will be enriched.

   I realize I am not “normal” so maybe my plan won’t work for you.  But since most folks are “not normal” either, maybe it will.

   I have had “fancy cars” … Cadillac, 280-ZX, Nash Rambler, Plymouth Valiant, etc.  None made me happier than my current F-150 Supercrew.  So much for “cars”.  I have lived in “nice places” although none had “a billy-ard room” or a “cement pond”.  Our current suburban ranch set in a “wooded glade” in an upscale subdivision suits us perfectly.  This house has a pantry door molding marking Kid’s vertical growth over the past 17 years.  Our Christmas Tree has been in the same spot for 17 Christmases.  No realtor can put a price on that.

   As for “bling bling” I buy a new $30 Timex every year or so at CVS with “quick readability” being the primary requirement.  I fly about 10,000 miles/year from coast to coast on somebody else’s nickel consorting with the “rich & famous”.  I’ve been to Rio, Jamaica, and lived in Mexico for 6 months without socks or a razor.   So much for Robin Leach’s champagne wishes & caviar dreams.

   In reaching for life’s “brass rings” I eventually realized my levels of daily malcontention were influenced more by “the little things”.  That’s when I went out and spent $25 on a pair of nail clippers.  Not one of those little key chain thingies.  I’m talking surgical steel and “swiss movement”.  I spent as much on “nail clippers” as I do for a watch … and never once regretted it.

   Every week or so for the past 9 years I have used those “fancy nail clippers” and I invariably smile and think “of all the shoddy poorly made useless crap I have bought over the years, these nail clippers were a wise purchase” and well worth the $25.  They do what they were designed to do and do it well.  

   “Good bath towels” used to be a problem in our house.  Emerge from the shower, grab a towel and its some threadbare worn-out “napkin” … the “good ones” were always “in the wash”.  I went to Stein-Mart, spent $75 on four beautiful fluffy king-size bath towels.  Every morning I have one hanging by the shower.

   Getting dressed, “underwear” used to be a problem.  I finally convinced Mizzus and Kid that “a dozen new pair of underwear” was not only an “OK’ Christmas present but a much desired and appreciated gift.  The day after Christmas I throw out my old underwear replacing it with my new ones and I am set for another year.

   You need to be careful with this though.  I once thought a fancy padded toilet seat would be a nice gift for Mizzus Swagger.  It was not.  That was 12 years ago.  I still remember because she still reminds me.

   Showered, clipped, and dressed I go in the kitchen for a cup of coffee in “my cup”.  I looked long and hard for “my cup”.  It has a manly heft to it and a big easy to hold handle.  It holds as much coffee as I need.  If, perish the thought, it ever breaks someone will have hell to pay but I know where to get its replacement.  I like “my cup”.

   Do you see the trend here?  Invest in “quality” for “the little things” that you have to deal with on a daily basis.  “They say” you measure a man by “what upsets him” and I used to let “life’s little annoyances” get to me.  Think George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life and that wooden ball on his staircase.  Now those nagging “little things” have been taken care of at an incredibly modest price and our family discord is minimized.  Minimizing familial discord is priceless!

   I will throw in Mizzus’ “shoe theory” that says if you buy a pair of shoes and “really like them” go back immediately and buy a 2nd pair just like them for when the first pair wears out and then you can’t find that make/model any more.  OK, it’s a weak excuse to have a stack of shoes 3’ high in the corner of her closet, but I applaud her reasoning.

   I know folks who have beaucoup more “things” than we do.  I know folks who have less.  I have had “more” and “less”.  Both “more” and “less” bring different levels of anxiety with them.  Now don’t go “Benedictine Monk” on me … all else being equal, go with “more” and you can always have a yard sale later to recycle your “too much” into someone else’s attic or basement.  


 Swagger’s Stumper

 Where was Barney’s Juanita employed?


 …Mr Cliff Roberts was Head Curmudgeon at Augusta National Golf Club for 40 years and best buddy to Bobby Jones.  He was also a deeply troubled old coot who blew his brains out one night down by the pond on the Par 3 course.

    Looking like a very valuable Tar Heel is leaving for “The League”.  No not “the enigma”.  I talking VALUABLE!  Mick Mixon is weighing an offer to be the play-by-play guy for the Carolina Panthers.  Most fans just know him as “Woody’s sidekick” trying to squeeze all the BeefMaster and Blue Advantage spots into each broadcast.  Mick Mixon is “the consummate pro” at what he does.  He will be missed.  Good Luck Mick! … Yo Mick, IF you leave, PLEASE don’t take your shirt off to celebrate … PLEASE!

    If Mick does leave, look for Jones Angell to get more well-deserved air-time although the Learfield suits will likely go with “an ex-jock” to do “color” with Woody.  Jones is also “a good guy” who will do an excellent job with whatever opportunity he is given.  

   Former Tar Heel Eric Hyman was named AD at South Carolina on Saturday.  Hyman has an impressive administrative career most recently at TCU.  He had been on most “short lists” to possibly succeed Dickie Baddour should he “ever” retire.  That won’t be happening now.

    Check out a new link down below.  We have recently “swapped links” with “Dean’s List” a Boston-based sports columnist.  Check Dean out for great stuff on MLB, NFL, and NBA.

    Also … a new Carolina blog site to recommend … James Conklin has started Tar Heel Sports Blog … … offering updated news clipping on anything about UNC sports.  James is a regular SSays reader and we will now be a regular reader of his new site. Check it out.  Don’t worry, he does NOT have a message board to attract the knuckleheads.

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